How do you react to criticism by superiors if you believe it is unwarranted?
Criticism is never unwarranted, but it is often unwelcome. No one likes to be criticized, and many people are insulted. When they're hurt or angry, they either overreact or block out the criticism entirely. Even unnecessary criticism is caused by something. If it was something I did, I want to know as soon as possible so I can clarify the misunderstanding.
I've learned to think about the other person's comments for a while, so I can see them as feedback to my actions, not rejection of me. Why did the other individual see what I did as negative?
Once I've taken time to think, I can respond, rather than merely react. If I still feel the criticism was unjust or was the result of some misunderstanding, I schedule a few minutes to sit down and talk it over calmly with my manager. I always try to present my case with a smile on my face and without placing blame.
I have learned that being right isn't always the best thing, especially if you're telling someone else that he or she is wrong. It might feel good at first to get someone else to back down, but usually it doesn't do much for the long-term working relationship. The important thing is to place the derailed train back on the track so it will start moving again. When work is going along smoothly, it doesn't matter who is right and who is wrong. It matters that you're all part of a successful effort and that you all share in the rewards of that success. That train can be an express if everyone works together.